The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has arrested a suspect in Sokoto who allegedly smuggled 460 bags of imported rice concealed in a petrol tank.
The Comptroller for Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara Command of NCS, Nasir Ahmad, made the disclosure on Friday in Sokoto.
Ahmad said the smuggled items, which were intercepted along Sokoto-Illela road, had N7.8 million duty paid value.
He said when the bags of rice were removed from the tank they had been contaminated by black oil, which is dangerous to human health.
The controller advised smugglers to find alternative legal means of livelihood and stop undermining the nation’s economy.
He solicited for relevant information from the public to assist the command track down smugglers.
In a separate development, the NCS said it has earmarked a total of 18,201 bags of smuggled rice for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East region of the country.
Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the NCS, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, disclosed this while briefing journalists on the activities of the Unit for the month of February in Lagos on Wednesday.
Uba said the seized rice which had already been condemned by the court will be distributed to the various states in the North- East region by the Nigerian Army Corps of Supply and Transport.
He said, “18,201 bags of rice have been condemned and has been earmarked for IDPs. It is the responsibility of the State government to pay for the transportation and the transportation is normally done by the army corps of supply and transport,”
Uba said within the month under the review, the Unit intercepted various contraband goods with a Duty Paid Value of N1.3 billion.
He added that the Unit also recovered N67.9 million from demand notices raised on goods intercepted while attempting to beat the system through transfer of value and under declaration, making a cumulative of N1.103 billion.
He said the items seized include 4, 201bags of foreign parboiled rice, 18 exotic vehicles, 2,619 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1,105 jerricans of vegetable oil, 2637 pieces of used tyres, 1,333 bales of used clothing, 55 sacks of Pangolin shells and 218 pieces of Elephant tusks among others.
He said the vehicles including Roll Royce, Chrysler, Land Rover HSE and Toyota Venza among others ranging from 2008 to 2015 models with a Duty Paid Value of N303million were intercepted along Ijebu Ode Expressway, while others were evacuated from a car mart located in Lekki.
Uba said a 20 feet container was also seized for false declaration adding that17 suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures.
Handing over the seized pangolin and Elephant tusks to the official of the Nigeria Environment Standards and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Uba warned smugglers to desist from such act capable of exterminating the lives of endangered species in Nigeria.
State Coordinator of NESREA, Nosa Aigbedion expressed appreciation to the FOU operatives on their determination to track down criminals who are bent on destroying the nation’s remaining endangered species and assured that investigations will be conducted to prosecute the suspects.
“We are grateful customs has intercepted this trafficking and they are handing over to us. The suspects will be prosecuted in line with the Cites provision and the full scale of the law will be handled by the legal department. This collaboration can get better by the day and by extension, the environment will be better for all and sundry,” he said.